To the God of Love
by E.V. Knox (1881-1971)
Come to me, Eros, if you needs must come
This year, with milder twinges;
Aim not your arrow at the bull’s-eye plumb,
But let the outer pericardium
Be where the point impinges.
Garishly beautiful I watch them wane
Like sunsets in a pink west,
The passions of the past; but O their pain!
You recollect that nice affair with Jane?
We nearly had an inquest.
I want some mellower romance than these,
Something that shall not waken
The bosom of the bard from midnight ease,
Nor spoil his appetite for breakfast, please,
(Porridge and eggs and bacon).
Something that shall not steep the soul in gall,
Nor plant it in excelsis,
Nor quite prevent the bondman in its thrall
From biffing off the tee as good a ball
As anybody else’s.
But rather, when the world is dull and gray
And everything seems horrid,
And books are impotent to charm away
The leaden-footed hours, shall make me say,
“My hat!” (and strike my forehead)
“I am in love, O circumstance how sweet!
O n’er to-be-forgot know!”
And praise the damsel’s eyebrows, and repeat
Her name out loud, until it’s time to eat,
Or go to bed, or what not.
This kind of desultory bolt,
Eros, I bid you shoot me;
One with no barb to agitate and jolt,
One where the feathers have begun to moult —
Any old sort will suit me.